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Monday, March 4, 2024

Insecurity in FCT: The Imperative Of Information Centre On Organised Crimes – By Emeka Oraetoka

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Nothing Changes Perception Faster And Better Than

 ACCURATE INFORMATION,

 It Is Meant For Rational Minds- EO.

 

Kidnapping takes place for various reasons. It could be political; it could be for economic gain or both. The war between Israel and Hamas militant group in Palestine that has so far claimed about 26,000 Palestinian lives wouldn’t have been as intense as it is, if kidnapping was not involved. Many abducted Israelis are still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. The ransom being demanded by Hamas is the release of Palestinians held in Israeli’s prison. The attention of the whole world is now on the resultant war between Israel and Hamas largely because of the death of innocent Palestinians, and the political nature of ransom involved. That is a classical case of how political kidnapping works, it draws attention. Not quit long ago, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) came under attack from kidnappers; the response from government was equally swift in curtailing it. Right now, FCT Administration is still putting measures in place to ensure that the city does not witness such level of organized crimes again. Government’s kinetic effort in this direction is however commendable, what is needed now is Information Center that will give citizens Accurate Information around organized crimes in FCT.

 

To this writer, a very dangerous narrative has been built around kidnapping in Nigeria, and it is equally leading to a dangerous perception from Nigerians in terms of question mark on the ability of government in handling abduction and other organized crimes. Interested media establishments are in forefront of shaping citizens perception on organized crimes. They do this by way of pick and choose the kidnapping story that suit’s their agenda, and emphasizing them out of proportion. The no “sleep” for criminals in FCT vow by Barrister Nyesom Wike, is a step in the right direction, as far as economically motivated kidnapping is concerned.  For the no “sleep” vow to stop politically motivated kidnapping, government must approach the fight intellectually as well. Yes, economic downturn, to an extent, is responsible for some of the kidnappings in Nigeria. In truth, 90% of kidnapping and story around it is politically motivated. Even, those driven into kidnapping by the reason of economic downturn, have made business out of it because of the encouragement they received from people writing or offering opinion as to the reason behind kidnapping in the first place. How can one explain a situation where a person driven into kidnapping by economic downturn, continues in the trade, after receiving N100million as ransom for his victim to be released? When such a kidnapper is caught, security experts will still tell us economic downturn was responsible. The place of greed propelled get rich quick syndrome will never be mentioned as reason behind most of the kidnappings in Nigeria.

 

Political reportage around abduction, on the other hand, is equally dangerous and only intellectual approach from FCT Administration, by way of providing Accurate Information on any abduction recorded in FCT, can take the wind out of the sails of these media outfits. For instance, someone was kidnapped in Bwari Area in December 2023 by people who disguised as men of Department of State Security Service? They came in white Hilux van fully hooded, as narrated by people around, but none of these interested media outfits reported it for the simple reason that it did not suit their interest of disinformation. According to report, the kidnappers took the man away on Sunday when the man’s wife went to evening church. It was even the children of the man that went to alert their mother at the church that men of SSS had taken away their father. The woman went to Police to report the kidnap of her husband. She went DSS office in Bwari to find out if her husband was being held there, only to be told he was not with them.

 

After running around, she was told by someone that her husband is alive, and in Kaduna, that she should not worry. Later, a female voice, said to be DSS personnel called her and instructed her of what to do if she wants her husband back. In a nutshell, the woman coughed out two hundred and fifty thousand naira (250k) meant to secure her husband from DSS, Kaduna branch, but without success. It was when she engaged the service of one of her relation to track the phone number the so-called DSS woman normally use in calling her for bribe payment to DSS in Kaduna, that she found out that her church member and someone from her town in Kaduna, masterminded the kidnap of her husband. The good news here is that the Police apprehended the informant and collected the bribe (ransom) money she had paid so far.

 

The point being made here is, if Human Rights Radio, Brekete Family Progamme, had not provided Mrs. Blessing Godia the platform to tell her story, Nigerians wouldn’t have Accurate Information around the kidnap of Mrs. Godia’s husband in Bwari. Now that citizens’ know the mastermind of the abduction via Brekete Family, their Perception about that kidnapping incident, in relation to what government did and still doing, has changed. The point being made here is, from the Accurate Narration from the woman whose husband was kidnapped, Nigerians at home and abroad, became better informed of the role Police played when the woman involved them, etc. In the last six months in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), about three to four high profile politically motivated kidnappings had taken place. The first one involved the aid of Senator Ned Nwoko, Barrister Chris Agidy and 18 others in Galadimawa Area of Abuja. Report later had it that 12 out of 19 individuals abducted, were killed, according to Senator Nwoko. No one knows why they were kidnapped, but Senator Ned Nwoko may know. He may even know who masterminded the kidnap, but it may be naïve of any Nigerian to assume the kidnap was not politically motivated. Probably touched by the manner his SLA, Chris Adigy was kidnapped, Senator Ned Nwoko, is now advocating for Nigerians to bear arms, as a way of curbing insecurity in Nigeria. Although, this writer is not aware of the status of the kidnapped, but the point being made is that Accurate Information around the kidnap of Senator Ned Nwoko’s aid and others would have helped security agencies bring real time closure to the kidnap. This will help keep politically sponsored media outfits at bay, as they will not be able to incite and cause panic.

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The second high profile kidnapping involved the six Mansoor Al-kadriyar’s daughters. One of them was reportedly killed by the abductors. This kidnapping incident was the most reported in FCT, maybe because of the involvement of the immediate past minister of communication and digital economy, Isah Pantami. It could be recalled that Pantami offered to raise the ransom money demanded by the kidnappers on his X handle. One troubling fact in this kidnapping story is the manner Pantami rushed to announce his intension of raising money to pay ransom. In most cases, relation(s) or close friends of the family whose love ones were kidnapped don’t normally tell Police or members of the public about the arrangements being made to secure the release of the victims. This is because kidnappers usually threaten in advance that if the Police know about the ransom to be paid, they will kill their love one(s) they are holding.

 

So, for Isah Pantami to rush and announced that he was embarking on crowd-funding to raise money for ransom payment, only illuminated the political undertone of the kidnap. What even raises suspicion further was Pantami’s claim that the inability of security agencies to utilize the NIN-SIM policy to track kidnappers is worsening insecurity in Nigeria. This same Pantami as the minister of communication and digital economy closed down telecommunication network in whole northern Nigeria, to according to government, tackle insecurity. Under Pantami’s watch, NIN-SIM was responsible for insecurity in the North, but under another person’s watch, NIN-SIM wasn’t responsible for insecurity, right? Is this a case of double standard or hypocrisy? This further underscores the importance of Accurate Information around kidnapping in Nigeria. I don’t think any Nigeria who doubts the whole story surrounding the kidnap of Al-kadriyar sisters, deserves blame, considering the manner Isah Pantami rushed to announce crowed-funding to get his so-called friend’s daughters out of kidnappers den. Some people are even saying that the whole thing was designed to embarrass the government of President Bola Tinubu.

 

The third high profile abduction took place on Thursday 15, January 2024, in an Army Estate in Abuja. One online outfit reported the incident thus: BREAKING: Heavy gunshots as Kidnappers invade Army Estate in Abuja, abduct two, despite Wike’s warning. Clearly, the report suggested that the kidnappers dared Wike, let’s see what he will do. But the real issue here is the motive behind the kidnap. To this writer, the target of the kidnap, one Barrister Cyril Adikwu, provided the reason the kidnappers came for him. Clearly, from the narration of one of the residents of the Estate, the kidnappers were not interested in any other person in Estate, other than Cyril Adikwu. The question that may be asked here is, does it mean Adikwu is the richest man in the Estate that warrants the kidnappers coming for him alone?

 

Hear Barrister Cyril Adikwu on how kidnap happened and make informed decision :– “It all happened on Thursday night at about 10:00 pm when a vehicle containing those who were kidnapped drove into my compound, and then all of a sudden the kidnappers followed the vehicle into my compound. “I was upstairs and heard strange sounds, so I peeped through the burglary door upstairs and saw one of them who was kidnapped on the floor. I asked what was going on there, and she said, ‘I don’t know, these men are asking me to go down, then it occurred to me they were kidnappers.

“Then I started screaming ‘Kidnappers help” at the top of my voice, at this point they started shooting at me upstairs; I was able to escape and then they started shooting guns in the air while they took the three of them away. “There were about 8 of them, and they walked through the bush path over the hill to the other side, not up to 40 minutes later, they left; I was called to provide a ransom, I don’t want to mention the amount because already false information is everywhere in the media about the whole incident, but I can assure you it’s more than 30 million. “I am traumatised right now after the whole incident, and the kidnappers have been calling me and have given me a time frame.”—

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Now, if one subjects Adikwu’s narration to forensic analysis, many questions may crop up. For instance, how did Barrister Cyril know the vehicle that came into the compound, contained those who were kidnapped, considering the fact that he was upstairs and had to peep through the window, according to him? Was he later told about that, if so why didn’t he say as it is? Was Cyril trying to say that the person he saw on the floor and asked what was going on when he peeped through the burglary door upstairs, was not his wife, but the person the kidnappers brought in? These questions and more begging for answers would have cropped up, if Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) establishes Information Center for the purpose of sieving different kinds of kidnapping and other organized crimes in FCT. To this writer, if the Army Estate kidnapping was not an arranged one to embarrass the administration of President Tinubu, then it may be fallout of business deal gone sour. This is exactly, what Accurate Information around Barrister Cyril Adikwu’s variant will reveal.

On Thursday, February 01, 2024, report had it that another kidnap incident took place in FCT. According to report, bandits, abducted a director in Federal Housing Authority, Federal Capital Territory, identified as Aondo Ver, from his home, during an attack about 200 metres close to a military base in Pambara in the Bwari Area Council of Abuja. A good Information Center in FCT, will expose the that the kidnappers deployed the same pattern used in abducting Barrister Cyril Adikwu’s family in the kidnap of their latest victim, Aondo Ver. And the intension of the abductors appears to be, “let’s take the battle to the military” or so this writer thinks. It is almost certain this was a targeted abduction because according to report, the bandits struck around 12.30am on Thursday, shot indiscriminately, causing panic in the area, before escaping through the bushes with the abductee.

It is almost certain as well that the kidnapping was politically motivated, if not, why this statement: –“The attack happened very close to a ‘camp,’ the military base at the entrance of Bwari very close to Pambara Extension. The part of Pambara Extension where Mr Ver was kidnapped is just about 200 metres away from the military base. But the kidnappers escaped through the bushes with the victim.”–. Is it by coincidence or by design that two Army Estate kidnappings in Abuja followed the same pattern in terms of execution?  In a nutshell, what the promoters of Army Facilities variant of kidnapping in Abuja are aiming at, is to tell FCT residents that nobody is safe in the City since the kidnappers are now bold enough to operate within or near Army facilities.The need for Information Center on organized crimes in FCT has become imperative in view what appears to be politically motivated abductions, and consequential reporting from interested media outfits in Nigeria. If citizens in FCT get access to Accurate Information around every organized crime, they will better appreciate government effort in tackling the menace. The agenda of those sponsoring organized crimes in FCT is to cause confusion through sponsoring sensational stories to instill fear and panic on Nigerians in FCT. And the ultimate aim is to discredit President Tinibu-led administration.

Recall that when the Minister of FCT, Barrister Nyesom Wike was the Governor of Rivers state, enemies of his government, alleged all kinds of things against his administration. On one occasion, a high ranking politician in the state alleged that Governor Wike attempted to assassinate him. Various television stations even showed how the so-called assassins damaged the cars he parked in his compound. In the course of investigation by the Police, it was discovered that only the rickety cars in his compound were damaged by the assassins, leaving out the latest SUVs around there. The Police report further showed that Police could not find how the so-called assassins gained access to the compound of the fellow alleging that Governor Wike was after his life. After going round, they, the Police couldn’t find a place through which the so-called assassins gained entrance. Meanwhile, before Police investigation became public, many, including this writer already believed the politician’s story. But when Wike, made the content of Police forensic investigation known, during the commissioning of one of his projects; that the perception of Nigerians changed based on Accurate Information from the report of Police investigation. Meanwhile, the politician that authored the assassination story to tarnish the image of Governor Wike, abandoned the enterprise entirely.

Time has come for FCT Minister to establish this all important Information Center to give Nigerians in FCT, Accurate Information around Organized Crimes in the City. This will greatly, but positively affect perception of Nigerians around insecurity in FCT, and the commitment of government in ensuring a safe environment. Surely, Accurate Information destroys false narrative.

Emeka Oraetoka

Information/ Perception Management Consultant and Researcher.

He also doubles as Advocacy Head, Anonymous Mail-In Crime Report (AMICR)

Wrote in from Abuja.

e-mail:giltsdaimension@gmail.com.

GSM: 08056031187, 09039094636

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